Why Do You Women Hate Martha Karua?

Dear Women Leaders of Kenya,

I know I’m asking a rhetoric question but humour me all the same. Why do you feel or think that Martha Karua is not worthy enough of your precious time? I must admit that I am one of those Kenyans that has stopped looking forward to Prime Time news because it is inundated with politics, more politics and even more politics. But God bless those fantastic male and female athletes of ours, never a dull moment when they’re on the news, innit? So I’ve digressed, but it was only to give you time to manufacture a response to my question.

What am I going on about? Well, your conspicuous absence from any of Martha Karua’s public events, ofcourse! And most notably the official ceremony to launch her presidential bid in 2012. Even the media picked up on that and it definitely raised my half-asleep eyebrow. Your silence has indeed been deafening.

You claim to be representing women, championing gender equality, proud feminists and advocates of social justice yet you’ve missed every opportunity to stand up and be counted as among the other Kenyan women that would like to see another Kenyan woman ascend to the highest public position in the land.

What women leaders of Kenya am I talking about? Let’s start with Civil Society. It’s no secret that Women NGOs in this city outnumber Gor Mahia jerseys on game day yet none of the Chairpersons, CEOs, Executive Directors of these non-governmental, non-partisan organizations have come out to support Martha Karua. And when I say ‘support’ I mean acknowledge her existence, atleast. When I say support, I mean publicly explain to your NGO membership that Martha Karua, regardless of her party, remains a beacon of hope for all women and for that reason alone she cannot be ignored or cast aside as just another self-serving politician out to enrich herself from public office and promote her own personal interests. Her message, her principles, her vision for Kenya, are these things so opposed to your own mandate as Women NGOs? When your organizations go out to the rural corners of this great country in the name of grass-root training and civic education on issues pertaining to gender equality, who do you point to as a living embodiment that there is a growing wave of women empowerment in Kenya and that tide is indeed changing?

Over to you madame MP, as much as you claim to be representing your constituents, are you not a woman, do you not represent all women both within and without your constituency? So, why do begrudge your fellow woman MP your gracious support? I bet you are sitting there thinking: “What makes this Karua believe that all of a sudden she is the anointed presidential flagbearer for all women?” Innit? Well, I’m not an expert or anything but doesn’t leadership begin with anointing yourself as a leader first thereby inspiring others to follow you through your own courage of conviction?

Ultimately, the sad thing in both the case of Women NGOs and Women MPs is that it hurts them more than it hurts Martha Karua. Putting aside the disunity created among women and youth voters, Women NGOs in particular are proving that they are not as independent as they claim to be, that they have become partisan in matters of politics, that they have their own political preferences that supercede their primary function as non-governmental organizations serving the interests of women in Kenya. As for the women MPs (nominated or otherwise), we know that you have to tow the Party line but show some backbone for goodness sake and atleast acknowledge your fellow colleague, and if your Party decides to throw you out because of it, so be it, join Martha’s and march boldly towards a newer, brighter Kenya.

In the meantime, there are men, literally tons of them, who’ve come out openly and admitted that although they have their own candidates, they admire Martha Karua’s courage (something about balls of steel..something, something) and ofcourse the positive role-model she is not only to the women and the youth, but the country as a whole. This may not seem like much, but its definitely a lot more than what the so-called Women Leaders of this country are doing. Your silence and continued absence speaks volumes.

Just a thought.



16 thoughts on “Why Do You Women Hate Martha Karua?

  1. I’m voting Martha, but I don’t think she’s going to make it. She simply doesn’t have enough support. A lot of men won’t vote for her … because she’s a woman. And a lot of women won’t vote for her … because she’s a woman.

    Some women are intimidated by her, so they oppose her by default, not in principle. And some are opposed because they wish they were her, so they’ll vote for ‘the other guy’. It’s a girl thing.

    I’m voting Martha because she’s smart and eloquent and I want to see what good she can do for my country. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. I’m not about girl power for it’s own sake. I wouldn’t vote for just any random woman – I didn’t even vote for Ngilu. But I feel Martha is the best candidate regardless of gender, so I’m voting for her.

    I’m a bit worried that she grew up in the sytem, so she may be just like all other politicians. But right now, she’s the best of what’s available. I just hope she can convince the doubting Thomases and Thomasinas before August 2012.

  2. You seem to be suggesting that Karua should get the collective female vote by default. If her campaign centers around her gender, not only will she alienate men but also women who fear an overly feminist candidate. For instance, go back to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008. She played down her gender, and took on a tough stance that ultimately didn’t help due to her polarizing record in politics. I’m not bashing Karua, I think its fantastic that she’s out there trying to bring about change. Women -and men- are more likely to support her based on sound policy ideas and solutions to our current problems, rather than her gender. Then again, her main challenge lies in getting rid of the status quo politics we currently have.

    • Martha Karua is one Woman Leader that understands that as an MP, and former Member of Cabinet, she was not only representing women but the whole country. That’s always been her mindset and I respect her for it.

      My contention is simple. Why isn’t she getting any sort of recognition or mention from the Women NGOs and other Women MPs? Are they ashamed of her? Is their political survival hinged on whether they are seen anywhere near Karua?

  3. I don’t consider Martha a woman. Ngilu, yes. Her? No. She does her work, seemingly setting aside her gender, not asking for the support of womanfolk unlike most female politicians, and just does her thing. Admirable, really.

    • This statement seems to imply that her lack of “womanhood” in your eyes is what makes her admirable. If she had appeared more “woman” she wouldn’t be able to do a good job?

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

      • I’m not suggesting that if she appeared more “woman” she wouldn’t be able to do her job, methinks it’s admirable she’s been able to do her job without playing the “I’m a woman” card.

    • Ironically, there’s precisely why a lot of Women out there “hate” her because she doesnt consider herself as simply a Woman Leader but a Leader of all Kenyans.
      I don’t whether these Women NGOs expect her to go them on her knees and beg for their moral support, because *that* will NEVER happen.

  4. women in general and specifically Kenyan women should not be quick to assume that men in particular Kenyan men are innately against them because of their gender
    Far be it from me to know or judge anyone’s background or past experiences. However the fact is equality or affirmative action is a two edged sword-asking to be equal to men also means acknowledging men control the degree of freedom you experience in life, and we know this is no longer the case
    Martha Karua will primarily be voted for or against based on how good her presidential campaign is, not necessarily because of her gender. Of course other people will vote for or against her based on that and other reasons. She doesn’t have my vote but good luck to her nevertheless

  5. Wow! Just wow! well I’ma have to add W-T-F? Articles like these are the reason I’m against democracy. Kenyans always cry democracy only when they are in shit but never really live the spirit of democracy. So now just because Martha Karua is female, Now all females should not question her but line and drop all their votes for her? simply because she’s female? I’m not sure it’s the female population in Liberia that voted Ellen Johnson Sir-leaf into power, or female population in Brazil that voted Dilma Vana Rousseff into power or the female population in Argentina that single handedly voted Cristina Fernández de Kirchner into power or the female population in Philippines that single handedly voted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo into power in 2001? I’m confused!! What if part of female population in Kenya just feel that Martha Karua is not their preferred choice for presidency? why would their decision be termed as hating? What of Men who believes Martha Karua is not just their preferred choice for presidency, why would their decision be trashed ‘they won’t vote for her simply because she’s a woman’? Are we really a democratic society where citizens are allowed to express their thoughts without fear of being labelled some names? I don’t know who I will vote for in 2012 but I know who I will not vote for if they vie. It has nothing to do with his/her tribe and gender but his/her history and policies. If that makes me a hater for not voting for your preferred candidate, then sorry man. But going ahead and labeling people just defies the logic of democracy and freedom of expression. For your information, Martha Karua has been in Parliament since ’92..How has she managed that? Female Population in Gichugu Constituency? Hahaha.

    @3cb – I’m just curious, do you have an idea why they call it a SECRET BALLOT?? Anyway you still have shit-load of time to understand that before Next year’s general election. LOL

  6. A couple of contentions with this article. One, why is the author making assumptions that the absence of ‘press-conference’ types of announcements from women NGO’s are correlated with a sentiment of hate towards Martha? I would rather he would have quoted several conversations with NGO women leaders who have expressed to him their ‘hate’ towards Martha before he makes his assertion.

    I actually happen to know for a fact that Martha does enjoy popular support among the women leaders of a number of NGO’s including AMWIK and FIDA, the latter having representation at her recent launch. As for other ED or organization leaders, were you not preview to the interview Jeff K had with Mary Okello, head of the Makini schools, when she announced her support for Martha? You also have to realize that as NGO they have to be non-partisan, even though you state this is not the case, so even those who do support her are not necessarily at liberty as you imply ‘spread the Martha gospel’.

    And, second, note that Martha should be elected on grounds of her merit not her gender. Don’t get me wrong, it is undeniable that she is a woman and there are attributes to be played up on that regard, but they are not the core and substance of her vying for office….something you acknowledge. So, why then should they be a core aspect of the support she garners…?

    I have no doubt in my mind that when the time is right, there will be a plethora of vocal support for Martha’s candidacy…including…yes women NGO leaders. And when she wins the presidency ( umm yes she is. she is the only real hope Kenyans have for taking this country to greater heights) it will be because women and men have chosen a leader that is right for this country, a leader who just happens to be a woman.

    P.S oh and they say she has a “set of three titanium balls” 🙂

  7. I will not vote for Martha. She is a bitter woman. And she STOOD BY KIBAKI AS HE STOLE ELECTIONS in 2007.

    Now am getting bitter myself…

    Sure we forgave but it would be unwise to forget.

  8. Pingback: The Audacity of Hope: Karua, Tuju and Post-2012 Kenya | Diasporadical

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